I Drank Alcohol In My First Trimester – Is My Baby Ok?

Regular or excessive alcohol consumption while pregnant can have severely detrimental effects on your baby and on your pregnancy. Alcohol is known to pass through a woman’s body, through the placenta, and to her baby. Your growing baby’s body doesn’t have the ability to process alcohol the way that an adult body does, and alcohol can remain in the baby’s body at higher levels and for a much longer time.

Some of the harmful effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy can include:
– Low birth weight
– vision problems
– hearing problems
– mood disorders
– slower than normal physical development
– slower than normal mental development
– slower than normal emotional development
– Deformation of the ribs and sternum
– curvature of the spine
– dislocation of the hips
– missing or damaged fingers or toes
– joint damage
– facial abnormalities
– nearsightedness
– failure of the eyes to move in the same direction, or “lazy eye”
– cleft palate
– deformities of the ears
– deformities of the internal organs
– deformities of the genital organs
– heart defects
– heart murmurs
– kidney defects
– urinary tract defects
– brain abnormalities
– brain damage
– learning disabilities
– irritability
– poor coordination.

In addition to the above ailments, drinking during pregnancy will put your baby at risk for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a combination of physical and mental birth defects that will affect around 6% of babies of women who are alcoholic or binge drink during pregnancy. Babies that have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome are born abnormally small and typically are not able to catch up on growth as they get older. They sometimes have small eyes, they may have a short nose or an upturned nose and small, flat cheeks. The organs of babies born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, especially the heart, may not form properly. Many babies with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome will have a brain that is small and abnormally formed, and most have some degree of mental disability. Many have poor coordination and a short attention span and exhibit behavioral problems.

During the first trimester, your baby is just starting to develop. Many of the critical systems and organs are forming. The first trimester is a critical stage, and a stage at which your baby is particularly vulnerable. Alcohol consumption during the first trimester is just as dangerous as alcohol consumption any other time during pregnancy. While drinking heavily and frequently will dramatically increase the risks of complications, even drinking a little is known to sometimes have some affect.

In some cases, a woman might not know that she is pregnant until well into her first trimester. It is imperative that if you intend to become pregnant or are at risk for becoming pregnant that you are cautious when it comes to alcohol. If you did drink alcohol during your first trimester, especially if you drank heavily and regularly, you should discuss this with your health care provider. Your health care provider may be able to help determine whether there have been any abnormalities, and help to determine if your baby is OK.

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